Summary: Do we live like Christ’s Disciples, or are we tending towards the ‘pagan’ lifestyle? If we are true Disciples, then we have no choice, for we do what the Master requires of us. If we don’t care what the Master says, then we are living more like the pagan.
Sowing the seeds of revival
Read: Ephesians 4:17-32
Do we live like Christ’s Disciples, or are we tending towards the ‘pagan’ lifestyle? If we are true Disciples, then we have no choice, for we do what the Master requires of us. If we don’t care what the Master says, then we are living more like the pagan (Jn 6:38).
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. -- these are the words of Jesus, himself.
1. The pagan lifestyle
Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, [and will keep on saying] and testify [i.e. witness - one who has seen/experienced firsthand] in the Lord, (NIV)
Ephesians 4:17-19 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do [infers they were slipping], in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (NKJV)
2. The Disciple’s lifestyle
Ephesians 4:20-24 But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and you were taught by Him, in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus [‘truth’ -- i.e. that which is found in the Word - His own Gospel]:
- That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
- Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Where there ought to have been the greatest force of reason, there is the greatest corruption of all, which gradually weakens you – physically, morally and spiritually.
- That you put on the new man which was created according to God [i.e. in His image and character], in true righteousness and holiness. (NKJV)
3. How do we live the right way?
a. Character change needed
Therefore [lit’ ‘for which cause/purpose’], in order to do this, and be effective in the Christian life, we do the following things (v 25):
- Stop lying [Gk.=pseudos … pseudonym ‘hidden’], “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour” (Zech 8:14-17), for we are members of one another [one body].
Why stop lying?
- Because of the prophetic promise of Zechariah:
Zechariah 8:14-17 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster upon you and showed no pity when your fathers angered me,” says the LORD Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgement in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against your neighbour, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.
- Because God is truth: satan is lies (Jn 14:6; Jn 8:44); i.e. you show whom you serve!
- “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry [i.e. don’t let the sun go down upon the provocation – whether it’s their fault or yours] (v 26).
- Be angry, and don’t sin (also Ps 4:4). That is, if you are angry. Then you must take care not to sin. Think about this:
a) Anger when directed at sin is not evil; then show and feel concern/pity for the sinner.
b) Remember, if we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin.
- You may need, correctly and Biblically, to rebuke or correct your brother, but be reconciled immediately. Don’t lose a day. This is a clear, express command; do we keep it?
a) Anger can be overcome – Ps 4:5: offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord;
i.e. turn from looking in at yourself and your own problems.
b. Practical actions
And do not give the devil a foothold (v 27) ... how? By actions -- deeds as well as words --(James 2:26 “…As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith - without deeds [actions] - is dead.”). Don’t only tell the world you’re saved, let them see you’re saved – show them!
- He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need [… his neighbours]. (V 28). Read carefully the N.T. (not O.T.) doctrine and understand 2 Thess 3:10-13!
- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (v 29)